In conversation with Robbert van Dijk, Director Digital Commerce at Vink
About Vink Kunststoffen
Vink is a trading company active as a distributor of plastic semi-finished products. They focus on market segments such as industry, advertising and construction. Vink’s core activities are keeping plastic sheets, films, tubes and rods in stock and supplying them. They have applications for piping systems, Signs & Graphics and building materials. Vink is market leader in the Netherlands and is considered an A-brand partner.
What is the added value of SYMSON?
“SYMSON helps Vink to apply a better pricing structure based on customer behaviour (transaction data). Currently, SYMSON is used to set up a better discount structure based on data from the past years. For example, SYMSON provides insight into price elasticity. From this data, recommendations emerge that can be applied to better design the price level”, says Robbert van Dijk. Vink works in steps with regard to the purchase of Data Science services and believes that many steps can still be taken in the future.
How and when did you find out that Data Science can add something to the business?
Robbert has been working at Vink for 2 years and was previously employed by a technical wholesaler. “At this wholesaler, the implementation of Data Science services was already in an advanced stage.’’ Robbert saw that there were possibilities for Vink to optimise margins by means of an intelligent way of pricing; stepping away from the gut feeling, and instead focusing on the logic that arises from data. In this way, Vink is able to apply a better structure to its pricing.
In what way does SYMSON contribute to the growth of the company?
“Vink is able to apply better and more realistic pricing to products that demand it, thereby increasing margins. This does not result in a price war, but rather that the quality is better reflected in the price. Vink supplies products with a higher value and they can better estimate this value using SYMSON.”
How do you see Data Science contributing to the growth of Vink in 5/10 years?
SYMSON as a tool and Data Science in general is new for Vink. Vink is convinced that SYMSON is the beginning of a great development. In general, Data Science will play a very large role in all areas of the digital spectrum. Whether it is about pricing, webshops, marketing, lead generation, etc. Vink has started with pricing because this is a basic element for the organization and certainly does not exclude that more services will follow.
What kind of transition has Vink gone through since adopting SYMSON?
“Last year Vink started using SYMSON and they noticed that the tool requires a different approach within the organization. The tool requires surrender and trust in the technology and this can be difficult for some employees to follow. With certain results, employees think: ‘Then the figures are not right’. It is therefore very important to communicate this step well within the organization; why? What are the consequences? How does the tool work? By communicating extensively and openly with all employees and showing them how the tool works, a larger basis of support is created. This offers opportunities for the future. For example, Vink now uses a segmentation that originates from an existing regulation within the organization, but this has nothing to do with the needs of customers and the corresponding transactions. This is exactly what we want to achieve.
Do you think Vink is becoming increasingly dependent on Data-Science? And why?
“Yes, Data Science is an indispensable element in various areas of your organization. For example, it is used for procurement and demand forecasting. By using Data Science, Vink is much better able to steer/lead the organization. There comes a point where you cannot do without and if you as an organization do not go along with this, it is difficult to hold on to your position as market leader.”
Do you think the increasing dependence on Data-Science can also have a negative impact on organizations? And why?
By using tools such as SYMSON, it is possible to make more informed decisions and more accurate forecasts. However, it is important not to leave everything to the numbers. Feelings and business knowledge are certainly just as important as Data Science. Therefore, it is important to find the right balance.